History of prostate cancer treatment

Surg Oncol. 2009 Sep;18(3):185-91. doi: 10.1016/j.suronc.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


The last two decades have seen great advancements in our understanding of the prostate anatomy and approach including laparoscopic and robotic techniques. One should not however, forget that the techniques evolved with time. The history of developments in prostate cancer surgery, radiotherapy and hormonal therapy is fascinating and urologists through the ages had the quest to find an ideal treatment for prostate cancer in spite of their limitations of resources and understanding. Surgeons have now practiced radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer for over 100 years. Initially feared because of its complications and difficulty, the operation can now be carried out safely owing principally to advances in our knowledge of the surgical anatomy. Refinements in surgical technique based on anatomical understanding have enabled morbidity to be progressively reduced to a widely acceptable level. Within the past 10 years, the same principles have been applied successfully in laparoscopic and robotic techniques of prostatectomy. There are constant improvements in the field of radiotherapy, evolution of cryotherapy and changes in the role of hormones. To the future, the matching of patients to the treatment modality most appropriate to their tumour, and quality of life outcomes are likely to become increasingly important in determining future practice. It is worth while to look at the evolution to plan for the future.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Portraits as Topic
  • Prostatectomy / history*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / history*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / therapy